Elation as article helps reunite cousins

Roselin Hofmeester and her cousin, Abrie Mathesa, are elated that they got to meet each other again after many years of separation, thanks to an Athlone News article.

A Manenberg woman’s quest to prove her existence so she could get an ID has finally paid off, thanks to an Athlone News article.

The birth of Roselin Hofmeester, 76, was never registered, and she had limited memory of her paternal relatives, who cared for her in her formative years.

Earlier this year, Ms Hofmeester appealed for any relatives to make contact with her (“Search for proof of existence,” Athlone News, January 24), describing faint recollections she had of her father’s family – the Mathesa family.

Her father, Abraham Mathesa, died when she was 6, but, according to Ms Hofmeester, it was her grandmother who had raised her until that point in her life, when she was sent to live with another family. Later, at the age of 12 or 13, Ms Hofmeester became a sleep-in domestic worker in Sea Point and lost contact with her gran.

Ms Hofmeester remembered the names of two of her uncles and two of her cousins – one being Abrie Mathesa (known to many as Abe) – and it was Abrie she was reunited with a few weeks ago.

Mickayla Mathesa, Abrie Mathesa’s niece, read the article in the Athlone News’s sister publication, Northern News, and made contact with her uncle and Maria Warries, a Manenberg community worker, who has been helping Ms Hofmeester for months now.

Ms Warries’s contact number was published.

On Saturday March 3, the Athlone News accompanied Ms Hofmeester when she went to meet more of her cousins in Kuils River.

Abrie Mathesa said: “I am so glad to have met my cousin again after all these years.”

Ms Warries said the family thought Ms Hofmeester had died many years ago.

“They tried to contact Ms Hofmeester over the years, but without success. They then just assumed that she had passed on. It was a big shock to them to learn that she is still alive. I am very happy that Ms Hofmeester was granted this opportunity to meet her family, and to be able to get her identity document, so that she can sort out her legal documents,” Ms Warries said.

Up until the publication of the article, their searches had led to a dead-end, said Ms Warries.

Once Ms Hofmeester has her ID, she will be able to draw up a will and apply for a state pension.